Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pacific News Service > News > Japan's Hidden Agenda in Iraq

Pacific News Service > News > Japan's Hidden Agenda in Iraq: "Japan's Hidden Agenda in Iraq
Commentary/Analysis, William O. Beeman,
Pacific News Service, Jul 31, 2003
Editor's Note: The Bush administration, in encouraging Japan to send troops to Iraq and break its longstanding post-World War II prohibition against troop deployments on foreign soil, may have helped open a can of worms in East Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, with Bush administration support, is pursuing a dangerous political course. By committing his nation to military involvement in Iraq, he's trying to end one of the last vestiges of World War II -- the prohibition against Japanese military action on foreign soil.

His effort is problematic on many fronts. Most seriously, it paves the way for Japanese military action against North Korea.

Koizumi fought fiercely for parliament's approval of a bill that would 'allow the dispatch of troops from the Japanese Self Defense Forces' to Iraq for peacekeeping operations.

In late July, after fierce public outcry, Koizumi back-pedaled, pointing out that the bill 'is not one that requires the sending of Self-Defense Forces...it's a bill that allows the dispatch of the SDF.'

On July 31, a delegation of Japanese lawmakers was dispatched to Iraq to assess whether it is safe enough for Japanese forces.

For most other nations, a troop deployment abroad would be uncontroversial. But for Japan, it will be the first since World War II, except for U.N.-sanctioned peacekeeping operations. It has, therefore, an enormous symbolic meaning for the Japanese.

For much of the Japanese public, militarism is the hallmark of the ultra-nationalism that fueled Japanese involvement in World War II. The Jap"

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